Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Preview: Love to down Enable

Love was a deeply impressive winner of last month's Epsom Oaks.
Love was a deeply impressive winner of last month's Epsom Oaks.

Steve Chambers takes a long range look at the 2020 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in early October, which will see the hat-trick-seeking Enable take on the likes of Love and Ghaiyyath in Europe's most prestigious Flat race.

Unable to land an historic third Arc success last year when just being edged out by Waldgeist, Enable will look to recapture her Group 1 crown on October 4, and the John Gosden-trained wonder mare has shown she is in red-hot form as she embarks on her quest for greatness. Beaten by Ghaiyyath in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park in July, the six-year-old bounced back to form with aplomb when romping away with the King George at Ascot. 

An emphatic five-length success over the Aidan O'Brien-trained Sovereign, Enable is now being primed by Gosden for a tilt at the Yorkshire Oaks in a fortnight - a race she has won in 2017 and 2019 - before she heads to Paris to try and recapture her Arc crown.

As short as 5/2 with some bookmakers for the Arc, Enable showed with that King George annihilation that when on song she is still the Queen of the turf, but she only got the better of two rivals that day, and in the Arc she will face a whole multitude of top-class middle-distance performers, and the experienced campaigner could prove vulnerable to a younger, more progressive rival.

Conqueror of Enable in the Eclipse, Ghaiyyath has fast become one of the finest equine talents in training at the moment, and the Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old is primed for a tilt at the Arc this year. Having sauntered to a two and a half length victory in the rescheduled Group 1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket in June, the son of Dubawi then went on to beat Enable by a similar margin in the Eclipse, and that victory duly booked his place in the Arc.

However, the Godolphin raider will need to improve on last season's Arc showing, as when quietly fancied to cause a stir among the favourites, Ghaiyyath could only finish tenth of 12, so will need a significantly better performance this time around. He is set to be next seen in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York in mid-August, where he is the ante-post favourite, and if he can come through that test with flying colours then all roads lead to the French capital and a clash with Enable once again.

While the old guard of Enable and Ghaiyyath sit prominently in the betting with the race two months away, there is a new kid on the block in the shape of the Aidan O'Brien-trained Love, who has been a revelation this season winning the 1000 Guineas and Oaks in sparkling fashion, and the dual Classic winner will be the standout three-year-old lining up, and has to be regarded as a major player.

A Group One-winning juvenile, Love has flourished during her three-year-old campaign and appears to be the next superstar off the Ballydoyle production line. A magnificent four and a half length winner of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, Love then put up an even more impressive performance when stepped up in trip, as she won the Oaks by an astonishing nine lengths. Some Flat aficionados were begging O'Brien to send Love to Doncaster to try and land the coveted Triple Crown by winning the St Leger, but O'Brien appears to have the Arc as her end-of-season target on European shores.

Receiving significant weight from her older counterparts in the Arc, the daughter of Galileo will need to show that she can perform at the highest level against more experienced rivals, but the manner in which she eased to Oaks success suggests that the one mile and a half trip should prove to be ideal, and she can emulate her adversary Enable by becoming a three-year-old filly to reign supreme in the Arc.

Currently vying for favouritism with the great Gosden-trained mare, Love could well face her Arc nemesis Enable in the Yorkshire Oaks at the Ebor Festival, and a clash of the titans would certainly shake up the Arc betting. But, while that clash can work as the warm-up act for their French ding-dong, it could be Love that is open to more improvement as we get to a thrilling crescendo to the Flat season, and it's the Ballydoyle youngster that has to be the selection with a few months to go until the off.

Third in last season's Arc, Sottsass will fly the flag for the home brigade, and Jean-Claude Rouget's raider was a narrow winner of the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Chantilly earlier in the season. However, he was comfortably beaten by Enable in this 12 months ago, and while the current 16/1 available may appeal to each-way backers, he isn't someone to get too excited about at the very highest level.

Aidan O'Brien, who last trained the winner of this race in 2016 with Found, will have an embarrassment of riches heading over to Paris and shock Derby winner Serpentine is a potential challenger alongside the aforementioned Love, while Magical is another potential shot fired by the O'Brien gun and that proven Group 1 starlet was a creditable fifth in the race 12 months ago.

Arguably the most fascinating runner in this year's Arc will be the Gosden-trained staying king Stradivarius, who is set to drop back in distance and bid for another notable Group 1 success. Last seen bounding to a spectacular fourth Goodwood Cup victory at Glorious Goodwood, the multiple Ascot Gold Cup winner will be looking to show that he not only oozes stamina, but has that turn of pace to be victorious at the highest level over a mile and a half.

There's no doubting Stradivarius is one of the shining beacons of his generation, but he was put in his place by Ghaiyyath when the pair clashed in the Coronation Cup at the start of the season, and while Gosden will have him more tuned up for an Arc tilt, Stradivarius will lack that blistering turn of foot against speedier rivals in the Arc, and he will ultimately show connections they made the wrong decision to hand him a task that is beyond his capabilities on a racecourse.

A sensational renewal is set to light up the end of the Flat season and there's no doubting that an Enable victory will raise the roof, but in Love you could have a special filly that is ready to take the racing world by storm, and the dual Classic winner can add yet more silverware to a glittering CV, and she is the ante-post selection a couple of months away from the showpiece event.


Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp, Sunday 4th October - back Love at 3/1


Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Love silk


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